While doubtless some Hollywood celebs are experiencing a big head from all the alcohol they consumed at the after-awards parties following the Oscars last night, others may just have a big head from a swollen ego after receiving one of those small gold statues; probably a few starlets are taking a morning after pill of another sort.
In any case, before I comment on the media event of last night, let me make one brief swipe at the Grammy’s a few weeks back, since in Music City that awards show still holds greater import than the film awards, despite Nashville’s long-time hankering to be the “Third Coast.” Perhaps instead of being called an awards show, perhaps this year’s Grammies should have been called the Losers Show, since it seemed that the people who didn’t win anything at that event seemed to get the most airplay before the cameras–notably a squinty-eyed blonde diva who made her name in Country and now that she has attained stardom seems to be distancing herself from it–a la the rather tacky cirque de soleil rehash of her whiney adolescent break-up song. If I heard it once in that show, I heard a dozen times, mention of so and so winning the Grammy which was presented earlier that day–before the broadcast began. Meanwhile, every five seconds or so, the camera would pan to Miss Squinty-Eyes as she mugged while someone else won an award.
By comparison, therefore, the Oscars were far better produced. Major and minor award winners got their fifteen seconds of fame–actually more than that, since it seemed the lesser the award, the more long-winded the winner–and Seth MacFarlane was both dapper and suitably tasteless in his jokes.
As to the actual winners, there were some surprises: Ang Li receiving Best Director for the Life of Pi, with that movie also winning the most awards total for the night; Argo came in a close second. Lincoln, with twelve nominations, was expected to sweep the awards and didn’t, although Daniel Day Lewis’s performance did land him the expected Best Actor. Best supporting went to a suitably tuberculine Anne Hatheway, while Chris Waltz, the man who played the amiable Nazi in Inglorious Bastards, won best supporting man for his role in Django, which does for the Western/Civil War era that Quentin Tarentino’s somewhat twisted vision did previously for World War II pix.
I won’t weigh in on whether or who should have won what; the Academy decided and that is their judgment; overall all the picks were deserving of what they received. I do fault the awards show on the music, however. Curiously, this year’s movie music was very little in evidence; instead we had old movie music–some of it more Broadway than Hollywood–more in evidence.
In fact, the orchestra pit was empty; what passed for the Oscar orchestra was holed up in an office tower miles away; perhaps that was to disguise the fact that a lot of the music was “canned” music and not live. Catherine Zeta-Jones was obviously lip-sincing her production number from Chicago, although Shirley Bassey’s rendition of “Goldfinger” did seem live–and well done.
Even more bizarre, however, was the theme music to accompany the award presentations. Traditionally, the Academy orchestra would play a few bars from whatever movie was getting the award, as the recipients ran up to the stage. Instead, the music this year was all over the place: theme songs to Lawrence of Arabia, Rocky, etc, which had nothing to do with who was getting what. When Anne Hatheway accepted Best Supporting Actress, they played the theme to “Godfather;” I mean really? Where were the producer’s brains for that? And Anne got her award largely for her heart-rending rendition of a song in Les Miz! That was just plain lazy on the part of the awards show’s producers.
Let’s hope next year’s Oscars have better production values; all the winners this year deserved what they got; they just deserved a little better show honoring them.